According to Hoult, most of the bug-eating is for a scene when Renfield is preparing for a fight and trying to “top up” the powers Dracula has given him. It seems that the Familiar’s bug-eating is not just superstition in this film. As Hoult told Total Film in a recent interview:
“I think they just ordered them from Amazon or wherever. The crickets came in different flavors. Some of them were barbecue, some were salt and vinegar. Honestly, once you get over the idea of what it is you’re eating, they weren’t that bad. And I ate a lot. There was only one that I didn’t like — it was a potato bug, and that one did taste… buggy.”
Hoult’s description makes the bugs sound like potato or corn chips — a small, crunchy base with powders of flavor sprinkled on top. But despite his “not that bad” protestations, the bugs still aren’t appetizing enough for me to try for myself.
Hoult didn’t have to endure an entirely bug-based diet though. As he told Total Film, some of the “cockroaches” he ate were just caramel molded to look like bugs. Hoult called these, “suitably chewy and sticky in the teeth, but delicious.”
The irony of this is that while most of us would choose the caramel bugs if given the option, they were probably much less healthy than the real insects that Hoult ate. That’s the unfairness of nutrition we live with every day.